The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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SMU’s first female cheerleader passes

SMU’s first woman cheerleader, Mary Martha Abernathy of McKinney, Texas, died on Aug. 17 at the age of 79.

Abernathy was born Nov. 26, 1926, in Dallas. She was a graduate of SMU, and was proud to be called SMU’s first woman cheerleader. Abernathy left a cheerleading legacy as hundreds of SMU women have followed in her footsteps, cheering SMU’s sports teams to victory for many years.

SMU junior cheerleader, Elise Holmes, expressed her regrets for the loss of one of SMU’s pioneers for women in cheerleading. “SMU has always been ahead of the curve in the cheerleading world,” Holmes said. “We are in fact the birthplace of modern cheerleading. The death of Mary Martha Abernathy is truly a loss to the cheerleading community as a whole.”

Abernathy’s family and friends remember her very fondly, recalling her as short in stature, but large in life. Abernathy avoided harsh conversation, looked for the best in others and was always kind. She is remembered as being a lady who had a gracious, warm manner.

She is survived by her sons, Mike, Richard and Matthew Abernathy. A graveside service was held Friday, Aug. 18, at Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney.

To convey condolences, or to sign an online registry, please visit www.tjmfuneral.com.

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